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A Cömic Räwk Halloween: John Schlim Jr.’s GOTH GHOST GIRL

GOTH GHOST GIRL IS ONE OF THOSE BOOKS THAT LOOKS SO SLICK, YOU’D JUST ASSUME THAT IT HAD BEEN IN PRODUCTION FOR YEARS ALREADY – NOT A BOOK THAT’S TRYING TO FUND ITS FIRST ISSUE. THAT’S WHY I WAS SHOCKED WHEN THE FIRST CAMPAIGN TO FUND THE BOOK AS A TRADE PAPERBACK DIDN’T SUCCEED…AND WHY I WAS STOKED WHEN THE BOOK’S CREATIVE TEAM RETURNED (INCLUDING THE INCREDIBLE SERGIO QUIJADA) FOR A FLOPPY COMIC CAMPAIGN AND HAVE ALREADY SQUASHED THEIR GOAL!

Goth Ghost Girl (aka Lily O’Siris) got her start in the anthology comic Fiendish Fables, and now she’s ready to set the world on fire. (Possibly literally. Ghostly hijinks are unpredictable at best.) Lily fronted the punk band Imminent Hour, until a deranged fan killed her. But, as everyone knows, it’s hard to keep a good frontwoman down. Even six feet under. Now, she’s back from the dead and ready to kick supernatural booty!

And today, we have the creator/writer of the book, John Schlim Jr, in the Clubhouse to chat about GGG, and everything else that goes bump in the night:

LET’S START WITH YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH: IT’S JUST YOU AND THE COMIC PUBLISHER OF YOUR DREAMS, AND YOU HAVE ONE SHORT ELEVATOR RIDE TO PITCH GOTH GHOST GIRL AS THE BEST THING EVER. START GUSHING ABOUT YOUR BOOK…NOW!

John Schlim Jr: First of all, I suck at pitches, let’s make that clear. And especially in this case, because Goth Ghost Girl is different. It’s not a superhero comic, it’s not a fetish comic, it’s not your traditional horror comic. It’s about people. People on the fringe of society’s definition of normal. People who have a hard time following rules. People drowning in despair. People facing their fears. And people standing up to evil.

GOTH GHOST GIRL WAS ORIGINALLY INTENDED TO BE A LONGER GRAPHIC NOVEL – IS THIS ISSUE A CHUNK OF THAT, OR A COMPLETELY NEW TALE?

JS: It’s a chunk of it. The approach with this character is a series of one-shots that collectively advances an ongoing narrative, so it works in either format. We originally preferred the bigger format because the stories are so diverse—some are sad, some are humorous, some are action oriented—and I felt a collection might give readers a better perspective on what we want to do. But the lower price point of individual comics seems to have more appeal, and it helps us stay committed to comic book retailers. Eventually we’ll be able to offer both formats!

HOW MANY OTHER STORIES DO YOU HAVE PLOTTED OUT FOR GGG? AND IS THERE A DEFINITIVE SHAPE TO THE STORY IN YOUR MIND?

JS: Right now I have about a dozen stories loosely plotted, and about six of those are ready for final scripting. Who knows whether they’ll all make the final cut. Sometimes I’ll write a full script and then trash it if I don’t think it helps define characters, contribute to the underlying plot, or it just feels forced. And sometimes the characters take you in a direction you didn’t anticipate so you need to rework! There is definitely a shape to the underlying story that holds everything together.

WHAT SOUNDTRACK PROVIDES THE FUEL FOR THIS BOOK (AND/OR THE INSPIRATION FOR IMMINENT HOUR)? ANY SPECIFIC BANDS/SONGS/ALBUMS THAT HELP YOU CREATE GGG?

JS: Music most definitely fuels the creative fire on this project! I have an ever-evolving, punk/rock/alt/underground/garage/pop stew from classic to contemporary dominated by the likes of Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, New York Dolls, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cramps, Blondie, Rancid, Social Distortion, Joan Jett, The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Lords of the New Church, Green Day, The Offspring, Against Me, My Chemical Romance, The Hives, The Cranberries, No Doubt, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Frank Turner, Bad Religion, AFI, Paramore, Twenty One Pilots, Highly Suspect, etc.

THE BURNING QUESTION ON EVERYONE’S MIND: THE HERO OF THE BOOK FIGHTS ALL SORTS OF SUPERNATURAL BADDIES AFTER HER DEATH, BUT…WILL SHE EVER BE ABLE TO ROCK AGAIN?

JS: It’s awesome that you would bring this up because this is exactly what haunts Goth Ghost Girl the most. She’s trying to figure out why she’s back from the dead as a vengeful spirit, why she’s so hyper empathic now, and how she can stop supernatural evil…but deep down she just wants to rock again. It’s what she was born to do. It’s still the core of her existence. Time will tell.

AND NOW FOR SOME HALLOWEEN FUN: WHAT’S YOUR BEST (OR WORST, IF THAT’S A BETTER STORY) HALLOWEEN MEMORY?

JS: My favorite Halloween memories were when my friends and I became too old for trick or treating so we instead starting exploring eerie, abandoned properties at night. One time we were at this old summer camp with decrepit cabins and a boarded-up main lodge that was ridiculously creepy. All of a sudden we saw headlights coming down the dirt road, which we never expected because we were in the middle of nowhere, so we all scattered to hide. The vehicle eventually left but it took us seemingly forever to find one of our friends. We were so scared that something horrific had happened to him that I thought my pounding heart would burst out of my chest.

NAME ONE URBAN LEGEND/MONSTER STORY THAT TERRIFIED YOU AS A KID.

JS: For me it was local ghost stories or hauntings. I was always simultaneously fascinated and terrified by the thought of undead spirits. Once on a sleepover at a friend’s house we watched his older sister and her friends playing with a Ouija board. They all had a blast, but I didn’t sleep at all that night!

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 HORROR MOVIES (OR TV SHOWS IF YOU PREFER) TO WATCH DURING HALLOWEEN?

JS: I don’t do well with these types of lists in general because I have too many favorites of everything! I find it impossible to pick favorite songs or bands or books or comics or foods. This list changes every year, so here are the 5 movies I plan to watch THIS Halloween week: It, The Babadook, The Exorcist, The Return of the Living Dead, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Oh, and of course, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! But it’s more likely you’ll find me reading something by Stephen King or Neil Gaiman, or rereading Lovecraft or Poe.

WHAT THREE SONGS ARE A MUST FOR YOUR HALLOWEEN PLAYLIST?

JS: Only three?! So many possibilities! Off the top of my head, let’s go with: “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, “Dragula” by Rob Zombie, “I Love the Dead” by Alice Cooper, and “Halloween” by the Misfits. Oh wait, that’s four!

IF YOU COULD BE HAUNTED BY ANY FAMOUS PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE – AND WHY?

JS: Wow. There are so many different directions I could go with this. Since I’m talking specifically about comic books right now, I would say Jack Kirby. Having his spirit whisper creative inspiration in my ear would help me create true magic!

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Written by John MacLeod

Dubbed "The Dorkmaster General" in his home territory of western Massachusetts, John has what some would call an "unhealthy obsession" with comics, horror movies and geek culture. He is a staff writer and editor for the web site Zombie Zone News, and is a freelance editor for his own imprint, Surfin' Dead Enterprises. In his spare time, he breeds free-range chupacabras to sell for ludicrous amounts of cash.

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